Welcome to Part 2 of 2020 in review! Today, we’ll look at the top 10 worst games I played/reviewed in 2020, along with honorable mentions, in the same manner I did last year. For a game to qualify on this list:
–It must have launched in 2021. If it’s a port, it must have been the first version I played.
–It can’t be a single game from a compilation of retro games, it has to be something so bad it brings the whole package down (like a bad compilation)
Same as last year, let’s get to it: this should be an interesting year since I didn’t really play too many games to speak of due to my new job, so a lot of stuff here is less bad and more disappointing/medicore. To be blunt, even the No 1 worst game on the list, isn’t even all that bad! Much nicer than last year, where the worst of the worst were actually pretty unplayable. This year, it was just mostly disappointments or games that were just eh.
10: Boulder Dash Deluxe (Switch eShop)- A super fun addition to the Boulder Dash series, this game is brought down by its mobile UI and very, very questionable visual presentation, somehow looking uglier than the game that came out a few years prior. Otherwise, this is a pretty great, fun puzzler.
9: Within The Blade (Xbox Series X)- A surprisingly fun action platformer, bogged down by some frustrating difficulty spikes here and there. I don’t really have too much to be upset about with this one, besides the fact it’s a bit overpriced and has a learning curve that can be a bit annoying: yeah, when good games end up on this list, that honestly means there really isn’t much that’s actually bad.
8: Gynoug (Switch eShop)- This is weird, since this port is outstanding and uses the Ratalaika Games porting techniques that have made other port jobs really, really good this year: it’s just the core game being ported is pretty dull. The level design is eh at best, and the powerup system isn’t all that fun. Still a decent scorechaser with a brilliant port, but there really isn’t much to see here outside of a first playthrough.
7: Mom Hid My Game! 2 (Switch eShop)- A fun sequel to a brilliant, short puzzler, MHMG2 is good fun, but very brief and not all that different from the original game, that it really can only be recommended to those who enjoyed the first game. It honestly feels like it should have just been DLC, rather than a separate game.
6: Long Ago: A Puzzle Tale (Switch eShop)- A rather average, fine puzzler made by the same person who developed the excellent Elena Temple, this game didn’t really do all that much for me. It plays OK… But everything about the presentation was generic and the overall gameplay loop just didn’t capture my focus in the way a usual puzzler should. Fine enough for content and backlog purposes, but doesn’t really offer much to make it feel special or unique.
5: Jiffy (Switch eShop)- This one literally has nothing bad about it at all: a pretty good sign with how games were this year! It’s a simplistic platformer that controls well, is fun… But is very, very short and doesn’t do anything all that special. It just exists as brief, satisfying filler, and if you’re up for something like that, then Jiffy is a $2 buy that you can throw on your backlog.
4: PUSS! (Xbox One)– A very, very trippy dodge-em game with weird, trippy boss battles. Seems more focused on irritating the player and hurting their eyes with dangerous flashing effects than providing a well balanced, fun game, and even the cute cats can’t really save this from being anything but a curio because of its “omg so insane” value.
3: Habroxia 2 (Xbox One)– You have a great looking horizontal shooter that seems to be inspired by the very best of retro games: but it just doesn’t play that well. It controls alright, but the core gameplay loop just failed to engage me and doesn’t really have much going for it, especially in a year jampacked with other, far superior and engaging efforts. Gradius this ain’t.
2: Azur Lane Crosswave (Switch)- A pretty dull third person action game, starring a bunch of weird anime girl ships. Ported to Switch, it’s better than some other IFI ports, but in general the game is still very unexciting and dull, and there really isn’t much else to say here: if you like the characters, this’ll be fun for you, but otherwise you aren’t missing much here, with the game being of mixed quality, right in the middle.
Panorama Cotton (Switch eShop)– Oh god… This was easily the No 1 spot solely due to how it released in an absolutely unplayable, abhorrent state, with invisible obstacles and buggy visual emulation. It took weeks to finally fix, and now that the game’s properly playable, it’s pretty decent for a port. Yet, the fact it launched in that state to begin with makes the original score stand, and thus, gets it a spot as an honorable mention.
Nintendo 64- Nintendo Switch Online (Switch)– I can’t even properly phase how upset this made me, hence why there’s no review up for this compilation. But after a flurry of rumors, a sudden launch of a pricier expansion pass, N64 games finally hit the system, with some amazing picks: Ocarina of Time, Sin and Punishment, Mario 64, and more to come!
The problem? They’re emulated horrendously. Some like Sin and Punishment play as smooth as butter, but others such as Ocarina of Time suffer from abhorrent input lag, Dr. Mario 64 and Yoshi’s Story have visual glitching, and Paper Mario 64 has random crashes, just because. Considering the great track record NERD has, it’s bewildering to me that they dropped the ball so, so hard on this, and didn’t even bother to patch up a single game when Paper Mario dropped in an update this month.
Wii U VC had horrific input lag, but to just see the N64 library treated like a rushjob is beyond disappointing, especially considering how great NES/SNES/Genesis perform. The only plus is we got a super great controller out of all this. In full bluntness, this would have taken the No 1 spot easily, but the fact there’s a chance they may fix it (Albeit, too late for me to care) has me unsure just where to rank it… So it goes here.
And now, the worst of the games I played in 2021…
1: Bitmaster (Switch eShop)- Well… It’s pretty dull, that’s for sure. A twin-stick shooter with not much incentive or fun to it, this easily ranks the worst of the games I’ve scored, and games I played this year in general. Which is honestly a very good thing, since it isn’t unplayable, buggy, or infuriating… Just boring. Considering the quality of my usual worst of winners, Bitmaster is actually decently playable, just dull. So if you really have the patience to push through, you may see more in this twinstick than I did. Or you could just buy a good twinstick from Arcade Archives.
And there you have it: 2021 was a pretty solid year! N64 Online is the only thing here I’d honestly consider bad, but otherwise, it’s just a bunch of dull games that didn’t do all that much for me at the end of the day: maybe you’ll enjoy these more than I did! For once, I can actually say with semi-confidence that this list could serve as just as much of a recommendation of games to try as the best of list.
So, with games this good being my worst, just what ARE the best games of 2021? Stay tuned tomorrow, and you’ll find out, since there were a ton of all-stars this year.